as in to stir
to cause (as a liquid) to move about in a circle especially repeatedly this room could use a ceiling fan to agitate the stuffy air a bit

Synonyms & Similar Words

as in to discuss
to talk about (an issue) usually from various points of view and for the purpose of arriving at a decision or opinion a question which has been agitated by the legislature time and time again

Synonyms & Similar Words

Synonym Chooser

How is the word agitate different from other verbs like it?

Some common synonyms of agitate are convulse, rock, and shake. While all these words mean "to move up and down or to and fro with some violence," agitate suggests a violent and prolonged tossing or stirring.

an ocean agitated by storms

When is it sensible to use convulse instead of agitate?

The words convulse and agitate are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, convulse suggests a violent pulling or wrenching as of a body in a paroxysm.

spectators were convulsed with laughter

Where would rock be a reasonable alternative to agitate?

Although the words rock and agitate have much in common, rock suggests a swinging or swaying motion resulting from violent impact or upheaval.

the whole city was rocked by the explosion

When can shake be used instead of agitate?

The meanings of shake and agitate largely overlap; however, shake often carries a further implication of a particular purpose.

shake well before using

Thesaurus Entries Near agitate

Cite this Entry

“Agitate.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Oct. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on agitate

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!